According to Don Hess, Professor of Transportation and Department Chair at JWCC, truck driving is an incredibly in demand field. The American Truckers Association reports there are as many as 200,000 current openings across the U.S.
John Wood Community College and Blessing Health System worked together at a truck driver career fair Saturday, October 13 to educate student drivers and current drivers about some health concerns that come with the job.
Road trip snacks usually include soda, chips, and candy. Truck drivers are exposed to this combination of unhealthy food along with hours confined in a truck cab every day.
Suzanne Ellerbrock, Administrative Coordinator of Sales and External Customer Relations with Blessing Hospital explained, "You can start out and before you know it, from what I hear, the pounds just creep on. No matter what profession you're in this can happen to you, but drivers seem to be a little more at risk for that."
"The majority of our students in an area like this, where we are a pretty rural area, are going to be over-the-road jobs. The majority of those drivers are going to be gone during the week, probably home on weekends. One thing we do talk about to people is that in addition to a career change for most people it's also a lifestyle change," Hess said.
In a matter of weeks, students can train to be a truck driver and start a new career, but besides the basics of operating a truck, JWCC wants to make sure they learn healthy habits on the road.
"We are having lung function testing just to make sure they're breathing properly and giving them that idea. We're having education about sleep apnea. We also have information on Blessing Physician Services and all the doctors that are available, and we have orthopedics here today. Proper lifting is key for truck drivers. In addition we're here with eat this not that, a nutritionist," Ellerbrock said.
At the career fair students and current drivers looked around for openings at different trucking companies, while Blessing Health System helped them become more aware of potential health risks.
"Current and potential drivers could come in here and get about $600 worth of screenings for nothing and get some indicators on their health, maybe things they should be looking at," Hess explained.
Blessing representatives emphasized the importance of learning these potential health problems so drivers know how to prevent them.